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New York's Giuliani Defends Immigration

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The anti-immigration movement in America today is crushing the spirit of the nation, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani told an audience of more than 600 at the Kennedy School's ARCO Forum last night.

"The threat posed to immigration by the federal government is really a threat to the future of the country," Giuliani said.

"Immigrants come in with a desire to succeed and promote a spirit of prosperity," he said. "I would rather see us have a lot of poor people coming in and knowing why they are coming, than only a few coming in for specific reasons. The poor ignite the fire of progress in America."

Giuliani was also highly critical of the recently-signed federal welfare bill, which denies many basic rights to illegal immigrants and their children.

He announced that his city will file a lawsuit today to strike a provision of the welfare bill which over-rules a New York City law giving the children of illegal immigrants the right to attend public schools and providing access to services that are critical to the health of the individual.

Executive Order 124 of New York City, which gives rights to illegal immigrants and their children, excludes the involvement of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

"The mayor is exercising constitutional police power by signing this order, because he is providing for the health and safety of the community," Giuliani said. "It is unconstitutional for the federal government to overturn this."

The mayor criticized section 434 of the welfare bill which overturned his order.

"This legislation is saying that the national government is better prepared than local institutions to deal directly with the people," Giuliani said. "This contradicts the 10th Amendment of the Constitution."

"The spirit of America has always been that of a fair nation," he said. "Something we keep moving towards, hopefully, is fairness."

Giuliani acknowledged, though, that controlling the flow of immigrants into the U.S. is necessary and said he would support setting quotas, patrolling the borders, maintaining good foreign relations and establishing more effective deportation laws.

"The government is merely attempting to discourage immigration by treating people horribly if they enter illegally," Giuliani said.

Although Giuliani said some control of immigration is necessary, he said he was frustrated with current U.S. immigration policies.

"Legal immigrants work at higher levels than citizens of this country and are taxed at the same level, but the federal government is saying that we will wash our hands of them if they get into trouble," he said

"The spirit of America has always been that of a fair nation," he said. "Something we keep moving towards, hopefully, is fairness."

Giuliani acknowledged, though, that controlling the flow of immigrants into the U.S. is necessary and said he would support setting quotas, patrolling the borders, maintaining good foreign relations and establishing more effective deportation laws.

"The government is merely attempting to discourage immigration by treating people horribly if they enter illegally," Giuliani said.

Although Giuliani said some control of immigration is necessary, he said he was frustrated with current U.S. immigration policies.

"Legal immigrants work at higher levels than citizens of this country and are taxed at the same level, but the federal government is saying that we will wash our hands of them if they get into trouble," he said

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